Social Media: The Sidecar Analogy

Social Media: The Sidecar Analogy

Running a business is a journey more and more people are choosing to make. And if you’re reading this having taken or started that journey, you’ll know it’s not an easy journey to take, but it can be very enjoyable and rewarding. One thing running a business isn’t, is it isn’t like riding a bike. However, for the purpose of this article, I’d you to imagine that your business is a bike. A gorgeous, sexy, beast of a motorbike. All parts of the bike work in harmony with each other, including at least one passenger to drive it forward, so together the bike and rider can successfully navigate any bumps in the road they may face together. The tank is full, the engine is purring, so it’s visor down and let’s ride! Now I’d like you to picture, sitting alongside the motorbike, is a side car carrying as many passengers as it can (usually one, I know, but it’s your imagination so fill your boots). That side car is unable to move without a reliable motorbike to guide it. It has to compliment how the bike looks or it’ll appear ridiculous, possibly event mocked. This is how I see social media. In this analogy, the bike is the business. Each part working together, like the stands of a business (marketing, finance, operations, etc.), ensuring the progress of its journey. The side car (the social media aspect of a business) adds personality, compliments the bike, picks passengers up on the way and drops them off too. It isn’t attached to one part of the bike (e.g. solely to marketing) but...
How to Build an Online Community

How to Build an Online Community

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” – Howard Schultz, Founder and Former CEO of Starbucks I was recently asked to talk at the wonderful Marketing Meetup in Cambridge, organised by charming and inspiring Joe Glover, about how to build an online community. This was as a direct result of the growing Freelance Heroes Facebook group which has over 3200+ members in the 2 years since it was started. Annie Browne and I describe the group as “the voice of UK Freelancers!” As well as “A community of freelancers from across the UK; supporting and encouraging one another, skill sharing and representing their freelance network UK wide” As one twitter user wrote… @teamIPSE If it wasn’t for #FreelanceHeroes my business wouldn’t be going strong today. Hats off to @edagoodman for creating a community of friendly support and networking. In 18 months I’ve spent zero on marketing thanks to this group. What more can I say. — Web Lad (@WebLadUK) May 30, 2018 Back to The Marketing Meetup, and my talk was pitched at people who were looking to grow their own online community to help their brand or cause. Here is a recording of the meetup… You may also like the deck I used to support the talk, which can be found here… What about you? What are you tips for building an online community? What is it that you like or dislike about Facebook and/or Linkedin Groups? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and stories. So please let me know here or at...
Why MicroBizMatters For Freelancers Too

Why MicroBizMatters For Freelancers Too

“Opportunities often come from collaboration, and the skills to succeed in your own business often come by learning from other businesses” – Tony Robinson OBE Every January, the world’s largest social media event for Micro Business Owners takes place on Twitter and Facebook. Launched by Tony Robinson OBE and Tina Boden, Micro Business Matters Day is an entire day decitated to taking action, by learning from others and inspiring others by sharing your experiences and knowledge. In this video, I talk with Tony (as well as a cameo from Adrian Ashton) about why MicroBizMatters Day dedicates an entire hour to the millions of freelancers, with Freelance Heroes...
The Best Sources for Free Stock Photos

The Best Sources for Free Stock Photos

A camera is a ‘save’ button for the mind’s eye. — Roger Kingston Images are an essential tool in bringing online content to life, whether it’s a blog or website. In this short video, from Digital Splash Media, the concept of the picture superiority effect is explained, making an overwhelming case for the value of images: Now we know the importance of adding images, we need to find the right ones. This, however, is a tougher challenge. Especially with many other businesses are trying to do the same thing. You want to find the right image to help your content stand out. So, here are some places you can visit to help you find the right image: 1. Take your own  — Sounds obvious, I know. But your own image will then be unique. No-one else would have taken the exact same photo and you won’t have to worry about asking for rights to use it (as long as it’s something you’re allowed to capture in the first place). 2. Unsplash.com — There are some really beautiful images here. The photo in this post, taken Felix Russell-Saw, was found on Unsplash. 3. Pixabay.com  — Over 1.4 million royalty stock photos and videos. 4. Pexels.com  —  If the first 3 options don’t work for you, then try this one too. 5. deathtothestockphoto.com  — Unlike Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels, this site gives you it’s photos in packs which you can download from the site or have emailed to you each month. 6. lifeofpix.com – Similar to Unsplash, with the added bonus of free videos too. 7. Google  —  If you have to, Google images is an option. BUT...
Lazy Marketing: Your Small Business is Better Than This

Lazy Marketing: Your Small Business is Better Than This

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy local, and that’s kind of the same” – Unknown   I’m sure you’ve all seen the sign outside a small retailer: When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third holiday home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, Mums & Dads put food on the table. Thanks for shopping local. Read my articles, attend a training session of mine, or come to my coworking space and you’ll see that I’m a big fan of small business in the UK. In fact, supporting and empowering small businesses in the face of competition from larger corporations is central to what I professionally believe in and what I do every day. Therefore, you’d think that because of this, and because most of my clients are freelancers and small businesses, I’d agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly. Well, you’re wrong. Every time I see this sign, I could cry. And here’s why: 1. Can we deal with the needless gender stereotyping first? Good, thank you. 2. I’m pretty sure the 500,000 employees of Tesco, many of whom rely on the wage the supermarket provides, would have an issue with this statement. 3. What happens if we all follow this post and only buy from small shops? Small shops that now get bigger as a result and will then need to employ more staff, move to bigger premises, etc. When do we stop buying from them, because we’ll have to, as the CEO of this once-small shop is now doing...
How to Get The Most From Facebook or Linkedin Groups

How to Get The Most From Facebook or Linkedin Groups

“Helping others is the way we help ourselves” – Oprah Winfrey When a new Business Park opened in Cambridge, the managing company of the site decided to host a “Meet the Neighbour” networking event, allowing residents of the park to see who is based around them and what they do. Come the evening of the event, it seemed like ¾ of attendees were based anywhere but the Business Park and were looking to meet residents in the hope of signing them up as customers. Now take a Facebook Group such as Freelance Heroes (obviously!) and you’ll be amazed how many people try to join it in the hope of signing up any of the 2000+ members as customers. Needless to say, those people aren’t allowed in. If you’re joining a Facebook Group, LinkedIn Group or forum, related to an industry type, geographical location, or other topic, follow these steps to get the most out of it. Read the Rules In each group there will most likely be a description from the person who set it up, detailing who the group is for and the nature of behaviour in the group. This will help you to integrate with existing members most effectively and show that you’re there for the same reasons as them. What if there’s no description? I’ll come back to that. * Learn From Existing Posts But reading what has been allowed in, and their respective comments, you’ll be able to see first-hand what works best in the group, ensuring your posts and comments compliment what’s there. Comment before Posting It’s not your job to tell other people...